Great dental care for kids goes beyond brushing and flossing. A balanced diet that is rich in nutritious, low-sugar foods is also important for maintaining a beautiful smile. While kids may not go for the raw broccoli and plain celery sticks, there are plenty of tasty snacks you can prepare for hungry, healthy mouths. Find out what foods fight tooth decay and how to encourage your kids to enjoy them.
Teeth-Friendly Snacks for Kids
Eating a variety of foods is the way to go for good dental health, according to the American Dental Association. Low-fat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy protein sources such as seeds, nuts, legumes and lean meats are all part of a balanced diet that can support healthy teeth and gums. The following are all healthy snack ideas for kids. These treats supply the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that young mouths need, and they have the delicious flavors that kids love:
- Low-fat yogurt with berries.
- Sliced, fresh watermelon.
- Crunchy veggies with dip.
- Celery sticks spread with cream cheese and sunflower seeds.
- Cheddar cheese and apples.
- Unsalted almonds and coconut flakes.
- Hummus with toasted whole grain pita triangles.
When to Snack
Eating frequent snacks makes it easier for bacteria to flourish in the mouth and form plaque on your child's teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends limiting the number of snacks during the day to prevent cavities. With plenty of time between meals, saliva can wash away food particles and help to protect teeth.
Sugars and Starches
Sugary treats, such as candy, soda and pastries are the obvious high-sugar foods that should be limited in a healthy dental care diet for kids and adults. Starchy foods, including muffins, breads and bagels that have been made with white flour, are high in carbohydrates, which quickly break down into sugars. A high-sugar, high-starch diet will increase mouth bacteria, which use the sugars to form acids that attack tooth enamel and demineralize teeth. Nutritious foods that still contain some sugars but are the healthier options when you are looking for tasty snacks for your kids include fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt.
There are plenty of nourishing and delicious snack options available. Try healthy foods for your little ones, and do not forget to limit the number of snacks during the day. Remember that frequent snacking can lead to dental health problems just as much as a sugary or high-starch diet can.
Make wise food choices a part of daily dental care for kids. Eating a balanced diet and flossing and brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste can prevent cavities. Set up regular dental appointments for your kids, and rest assured that you are doing a good job taking care of those smiles!